The Benefits of Mindful Eating: Rediscover Your Joy With Food
What you'll find inside this article: Meet Kiki, founder of Adapt Daily Gummies, she is sharing with us the benefits of mindful eating and is teaching us how we can rediscover our innate joy with food.
If you find yourself THINKING about eating, thinking about NOT eating, or simply EATING more often than you’d like to in your everyday life - I have good news. If you’re reading this, you likely have a stomach, and I’ll bet it works perfectly - if only you remembered how to use it properly!
After years of struggling with disordered eating myself, and hitting my own “rock bottom” with a never-ending cycle of binge eating and then restricting - which led to severe IBS, the loss of my period, and debilitating acne (& other hormonal issues), I eventually sought help to rediscover HOW to eat. Even though I was a “wellness expert” at the time - flaunting “healthy recipes” on my IG and teaching workshops on everything from kombucha to cannabis - I was absolutely LOST as to how the heck to heal my relationship with food, and return to the peaceful way of eating I only faintly remembered having as a young child.
Before I continue, let’s see if we’re on the same page. See how many of the following sentences you’d agree with…
Do You Suffer From Out-Of-Order Eating?
1. I label food by using words like "junky", "naughty", "clean", "good", "bad",
2. I use food to break-up my day - it's something I use as an "in-between"
(work, change of environment, etc.).
3. I weigh myself at least once daily.
4. If I smell or see food, I easily become hungry.
5. I am scared of getting fat.
6. I am scared to be thin.
7. I organize my schedule around what or when I'm going to eat.
8. I try not to eat throughout the day, but usually end up nibbling
9. I despise looking at my body in the mirror.
10. When reading a menu, I purposely choose foods that seem the
11. I have to finish all the food on my plate - regardless of if I feel full
before my plate is clean.
12. If I eat too much, I compensate by working out more.
13. I have to eat a certain number of meals each day, or stick to a certain
timing of meals (e.g. Intermittent Fasting).
14. I cannot tighten or contract my stomach muscles.
15. I judge my body in comparison to others.
16. I feel more in control of my eating if I stick to a certain diet protocol.
17. I am constantly thinking about eating - or NOT eating.
18. I think to myself, "When I become thin, I will..."
If you said “Yup, that’s me!” To even just 2-3 of the above, then you can definitely benefit from what I’m about to share in the following post. If you resonate with over 5 of the above scenarios - then please focus and take what you’re about to read VERY seriously. The benefits of mindful eating could be the exact help you need to free yourself from the tyranny of diet culture.
The Benefits of Mindful Eating: Rediscover Your Joy With Food
Recognizing Your Non-Value Based Beliefs
The first step I always take with clients (over and above the structured recording process I coach in my 6-week programs) is what I like to call “cleaning out the non-value based beliefs operating in your gut”. When we have non-value based beliefs (otherwise known as “limiting beliefs”) - which are conditioning we learn or otherwise pick up on and follow as if it’s fact, often unconsciously, they drive out-of-order eating (i.e. eating when not hungry, eating over and beyond the feeling of energized spaciousness). Some of us pick up these non-value based beliefs in childhood (e.g. “finish everything on your plate first”) or later in life (e.g. “my needs aren’t as important as making money, caring for my family, pleasing others,” etc.).
I can usually detect the non-value based beliefs simply & quickly when clients describe their relationship with food and how they tend to operate in their day-to-day lives. It’s often successful, emphatic, highly intelligent women that lose their innate intuitive gut wisdom around eating & their bodies. We know it’s a non-value based belief when I pick it out and replay it back to them - then I’ll ask, do you believe this? Usually, it’s laughter mixed with “Well, not actually - I get that it sounds so weird, so silly!”. It feels “weird” because it’s not really aligned with their core truth - their core essence - which is exactly what the gut holds. Yes, this is a deeply spiritual process - this isn’t a “weight-loss” process or a “healthy eating” program. This is carving out the lack of truth in your gut that is driving the fear, discomfort, and ultimately your inability to nourish yourself properly. Please know it’s not a new diet that you need in order to “fix” your eating and/or gut issues. Fear creates inflammation. Peace & love is your birthright, and this process is all about resurfacing what I like to call the “internal pleasant base” in your gut.
For those of you reading this and are currently having a “mind = blown” experience, and want to dive deeper - go ahead and grab a journal (I always say: ‘pen to paper and you become your own best therapist!’) and start writing out what you detect as the non-value based beliefs operating in your gut that may be contributing to your out-of-order eating habits. I have a free training here if you’d like video support with this.
Rediscovering The Innate Boundaries of Your Body
So, you recognize that there are/were some funky - not quite true - thoughts running the show as it relates to your eating. What’s next? This is my favourite part of the process, as it’s always much quicker and easier than people think. I’m always amazed at the profound shifts that can happen within a matter of a few weeks! While my 6-week intensive recording process should only be done with the guidance of a coach & a supportive community (apply to get on the waitlist for my next group here if this is something that calls you) - here are 3 effective “getting started” strategies that will help jumpstart your success with returning to the innate boundaries of your body.
1. Reconnect with HUNGER*.
Eat only when hungry. Food is to care for the physical body when hungry. Notice when you tend to eat even when you’re body is not chemically ready to digest food (this is exactly what hunger signals!) and return to your intention of eating only when physically gut hungry.
*Bonus journal prompt: Feeling hungry feels like…
2. Remember what TASTES* good to you.
Eat only the foods that you enjoy! We have tastebuds for a reason - they are meant to guide us towards the foods we most need, moment-to-moment. Respect and honour your taste preferences by choosing foods that you actually like. Yes, it’s really that simple!
*Bonus journal prompt: When I eat foods I like, it feels like…
3. Open up TOTAL CHOICE* of all foods.
Many of us (especially as women) learn to restrict and deprive ourselves of the foods we most enjoy. Unfortunately, over and above many of the other negative consequences of this, the main thing I’d like to highlight here is how this literally interferes with our ability to find true satisfaction with our eating occasions. In other words, it leads to overeating - and then oftentimes, we still don’t feel like it “hit the spot” (although we may be uncomfortably stuffed!).
*Bonus journal prompt: Some of my favourite foods include…
Peace with Food…and Beyond!
So now you have some of my more “DIY” practical tools & mindset shifts to start your journey towards more conscious, connected eating. As I hinted at earlier, this isn’t just a physical health transformation. When eating is out of order, life is out of order. By removing the buffer that food may be acting as - rather than connecting with your true self, your true identity (held in the gut) - you are more able to access the wisdom within. Who knows where this will take you? Only you!
For more information on Kiki & getting on the waitlist for her next women’s group, check out https://www.theexperfectionist.com/ & connect with her directly @kiki_athanas
Kiki Athanas is a Conscious Eating Coach @ The Ex-Perfectionist + Founder of AdaptDaily Gummies. She combines her background in nutrition, naturopathic medicine & herbalism to help women transform into their highest selves - physically, emotionally & spiritually.